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Faithful Persistence

3 John 1:3-4
It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (NIVUK)

John had previously written to a godly lady with a similar message about her children (2 John 1:4): he now repeats it personally to Gaius. John found great joy in seeing that the life of Christ was growing in Gaius. He demonstrated a faithful, consistent and persistent practical faith. Despite so many setbacks for the church, and many of the other apostles had been persecuted to death, this man's lifestyle proved that Jesus was still alive, and living in the changed heart of a faithful man. The gospel flame was still alight!

The news had come to John from travellers. Gaius had once been a spiritual baby but now he had an enduring maturity as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Gaius was clearly being motivated by the Holy Spirit to remain obedient to the truth he had been taught. He was not deviating from the apostles' teaching at all. He was persistent in the truth; walking straight towards Jesus.

It appears that Gaius was converted and discipled through John's ministry. As with children, the beginning is only the start of a long road to maturity; there is much hard work to be done by parents as well as the children to enable them to grow up true to the family values. The same is true for Christians. The 'new birth' is essential (John 3:6), a cause of great joy. But it is only the beginning of the Christian's life. The believer grows up by obeying the truth of God's Word (Titus 2:11-14). When that happens there is joy in heaven and also among the other believers and the pastors.

Have you grown up spiritually? Are you walking straight towards Jesus? Faithfulness to the truth doesn't just mean knowing what God wants, but also doing it! If you have been doing it, why get distracted? Has Jesus been pushed out of your focus by something else? If you have started, keep going towards Christ - but you cannot do it in your own strength, you need His help (Philippians 2:12-13). Admit your wanderings and let Him help you to persist in obedience, doing what He has told you (Galatians 5:24-25).

Father God. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I am sorry that I have not grown up spiritually as I should, nor persisted in obedience as You have commanded. Please help me to understand, each day, how I can put Your Word into practise with the help of Your Holy Spirit so that You will rejoice over me, and so will my fellow believers and those who watch over me spiritually. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams